My mom was always a huge believer in symbols and special meaning (hidden or not, significant only to her or not).
For example, I remember as I was getting ready to head off to college, she gave me a kaleidoscope and told me that “Anytime you need to change your view, look in here.” I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes, stuck her gift in a box, and forgot all about it until recently.
Another example was the Christmas china. During one of my tumultuous years of young adulthood, I had pretty much ruined Christmas. My mom, in her rage and sadness over the whole situation, saw the Christmas decorations and china in the house and lost it. She took the really nice, been in the family for years, decorative glasses and threw them off the back porch as hard as she could. And they didn’t break – they bounced. And she saw it as representative of what we would do. We would not break. We would bounce.
I never really put much stock into symbols and special meaning until recently. I’ve found that, since her diagnosis last February, I’m much more likely to look for the meaning behind the object. And I’ve acquired a few talismans with special meaning along the way.
Two things that I love and have helped me lately are my butterfly necklace and my mom’s ring.
My butterfly necklace was a present from Jessie for my 28th birthday. And every time I put it on, I’m reminded that I’m a work in progress. And that I (and you and everyone) am much like a caterpillar/butterfly, working its way through many metamorphoses along the way. ((Feel free to gag at the triteness and melodrama. It helps me to tell myself this, so bugger off if you find it cloying.))
The other thing that I love is the ring I had made out a ring my mom left me. For as long as I can remember, Jessie and I knew that she would inherit my mom’s engagement ring and I would inherit her ruby ring. Granted, we thought it was years and years down the road, but life’s a bitch, no?
My mom knew that her ring, in its original incarnation, was not my style. It had a very high profile – I have no clue how she did anesthesia for years without getting it caught on gloves or tubing or patients…. We had talked about going to Diamonds Direct together and redesigning it into something I would want to wear and had planned on doing so over Christmas, but we didn’t get the chance. So I took it myself a few weeks ago ((And yes, I started crying in the middle of Diamonds Direct. The poor salesgirl was at a loss and felt terribly awkward, I’m sure.)) and I picked it up last week. And I love it.
Unfortunately, I was in the parking lot of Diamonds Direct before I realized I didn’t have a picture of the ring as it was, so I had to snap one with my iPod. Not the best quality, but you get the general idea.
I am so happy with how it turned out. I know my mom would have loved it, too.
It helps a bit to have something of hers to wear. I also have a couple of beads from her Pandora bracelet that I added to mine ((I insisted that the DreadBrewer get me a Pandora bracelet as my “push present.” Very grabby, I know, but as the behemoth I birthed was over 9 pounds, I feel that I earned it.)) – I have been known to “pet” them from time to time.
I still miss her terribly and know I will for the rest of my life, but I’ve got her ring. And my necklace.
And who knows? Maybe I’ll start finding hidden meaning in all sorts of everyday objects and situations too.